Nearly one year ago I attended a one day conference on the missional church at Biblical Seminary. The event coincided with the installation of John Franke as the The Lester and Kay Clemens Professor of Missional Theology. Before the event I enjoyed chatting with John as we strolled the small campus in Hatfield, PA. He gave me an article he had written that would be something of a distillation of his soon to be published book, Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth.
After repeated emails from Amazon.com that the publication date had been pushed back, I received shipping confirmation late last week. Today my copy yesterday. There is little doubt I will set aside a number of books I am reading to get right into this one. Already I stole away some time to read much of the “pre-matter.”
Brian McLaren outlined a number of reasons this book may be valuable. Throw in Tony Jones introduction to the series and most will consider the book to have a plurality of reasons not to be read. Not so here. I am reminded of the scene in the movie Footloose where the Reverend Shaw put an end to burning books he had inadvertently influenced. Surely we are beyond those days of burning books too.
From my high school days right up through the present I have wrestled with the diversity of Christian denominations. Even when I would repeat my pastor’s mantra growing up that “Southern Baptists are the closest thing to the New Testament,” I felt uneasy. Friends would pigeon hole me asking, “So you think you are the only ones going to Heaven.” Surely I did not think so. But that was the climate then and with the push in our denomination for what it means to be Baptist now we head hunt those who are not Baptist “like we are.”
I look forward to reading how John works with the reality of the kaleidoscope of beauty when we consider the breadth of the Christian faith from its early days until now.